File photo: Kerala high court. (PTI)
File photo: Kerala high court. (PTI)

Kerala HC takes up matter of robbery and assault on female train passenger

The 31-year-old woman boarded the Guruvayur-Punalur passenger train from Mulanthuruthy (Ernakulam district) on Wednesday morning.
UPDATED ON APR 30, 2021 05:31 PM IST

The Kerala High Court on Friday took up the matter relating to the attack on a Kerala woman travelling by train two days back. The court, which took the case suo motu, sent notices to the railways and state government, HT has learnt.

According to officials, the 31-year-old woman boarded the Guruvayur-Punalur passenger train from Mulanthuruthy (Ernakulam district) on Wednesday morning. She told the police that in a hurry she boarded a coach which was completely empty. She suffered serious injuries jumping off the moving train to escape sexual assault and robbery. Some locals saw her jumping from the train and rushed her to the nearest hospital.

“I dropped her at the railway station in the morning. She told us everything happened in just five minutes. Her condition is stable now,” said her husband, adding that she used to take the train regularly to travel to her workplace in Chengannur.

The police have identified the assailant as Babu Kuttan, a serial offender who was released from jail a couple of months back.

The woman told the police that shortly after she boarded the train a man came running and leapt into the compartment. While she was talking to her sister on her mobile phone, she noticed the man closing all doors of the compartment. She said the man came towards her, snatched her gold chain and threw her mobile phone out of the window.

The woman said when she refused to part with her earrings and bangles, the assailant threatened her with a screwdriver and dragged her to the nearby bathroom. After the scuffle, she managed to open the door and tried to alight from the moving train. She said she clung to the door of the moving train for a while before losing the grip and fell on the tracks. She reportedly recognised the offender from the album of the history-sheeters.

The latest incident has triggered outrage and raised questions on women safety in trains and other public transport systems. The state women commission has also registered a case. The railway protection force has registered a case under many sections of the Indian Penal Code, including Section 376 of the IPC (rape) and recovered her mobile phone later. The assailant escaped with her chain and wallet.

Ten years ago, a similar incident took place on the Ernakulam-Shornur passenger train. A 23-year-old salesgirl, who was alone in the ladies compartment, was robbed and later raped by a vagabond named Govindachami. Thrown out of the moving train, the victim eventually succumbed to her injuries. Govindachami was sentenced to death by the trial court. The Supreme Court later commuted his sentence to life-term.

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